tv The Last Word MSNBC January 5, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm EST
we're going to be live from new hampshire tomorrow. i'm hoping to get at least one candidate to speak with me. talk to me jon huntsman. new hampshire tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." have a great night. president obama has finally found something that he thinks is worth risking an all out war with congressional republicans. a war about one person. that person joins me tonight. >> our message is, you can run but you can't hide. >> he is the one who can defeat barack obama. >> rick santorum is ready to take on barack obama and restore america's greatness. >> the democratic national committee, barack obama.
>> we have to have richard cordray in place. >> republicans in the senate have blocked richard's confirmation. >> they don't even want the consumer financial protection bureau. >> i'm very proud of the president of the united states. >> i'm not going to stand by while a niminority in the state- >> they refuse to even give richard an up or down vote. >> republicans just want to have fun. >> this is a quirky process. >> you know the boring white stuck-up guy? >> rick santorum has moved into fourth place. >> he usually wears a sweater vest. >> newt and rick versus mitt and john. frenemies forever. >> governor romney is a moderate massachusetts republican. >> john mccain at his side, it
was awkward. >> john mccain had to pick the person that he hated the least. >> next question? >> he might be getting ready to pull the pin. >> newt has been preparing for this challenge his entire life. >> but you left him alive and alone with his first love. >> the new year gives us a new president obama, especially in his dealings with congress. white house aides have been suggesting to reporters that the president would find his way around in a move that shocked parliamentary experts and made perfect sense to everybody else. the public defied objection instruction nifts in the senate and swore in the first consumer protection bureau without having him confirmed by the senate as
required by law. the president used his power to make a recess appointment, which allows him to bypass senate confirmation, something the constitution allows him to do only when the senate is in recess. the problem here is, the senate is not technically in recess. it has been holding pro forma sessions, better described as utterly fake sessions that last minutes per day. they are forced to do this in the belief that it would prevent the president and the president has in effect declared the pro forma senate sessions to be fraudulent and, therefore, the senate is is in the president's view at least, indeed in recess. the outrage from senate republicans was instan tan yous.
president obama has arrogantly circumvented the american people by recess appointing richard cordray as director of the new cfpb. senat senator orrin hatch said this is a very heavy-handed autocrtat particular white house. circumventing the senate to appoint an unaccountable czar to appease. one republican senator fully supports the president's action. massachusetts senator scott brown said, i support president obama's appointment today of richard cordray to head the cfpb. i believe he is the right person to lead the agency and help protect consumers from fraud and scandals. while i would have preferred it to go through the confirmation process, unfortunately, this system is completely broken.
in the lastest boston herald poll, scott brown is losing. 42% to warren's 49%. scott brown's statement is simply following elizabeth warren's lead. >> he's a former ohio attorney general. he recovered $2 billion for pensioners in ohio. he was the first ag on the front lines in the mortgage servicing scandal. he's a former state treasurer. there's nothing here to object to unless you fully believe we ought to stick with the failed regulatory policies we had. >> would you vote for him if you were in the united states senate? >> boy, you bet. i would not only vote for him, i would speak on his behalf and wear a rich cordray button. >> joining me now is the man at the center of the constitutional storm. the newly sworn in richard
cordray. thank you for joining us tonight. >> my pleasure. >> congratulations on making history and provoking a constitutional crisis simply by trying to fill a position created by the congress by law that the republicans apparently just don't want anyone to have in that job. they made it very clear he wasn't personally against you. they just believe this agency shouldn't exist in this form and no one should fill that job. >> yeah, they did not make it personal about me and i appreciated that and i never take anything personal in these types of issues. my position here is that there's an important job to do. people know that they need a consumer watch dog to help them navigate the financial marketplace to stand on their side to prevent fraud and to see that people are treated fairly. that's what we're going to do and that's what i'm going to do. >> president obama in describing the job that he's asked you to do. >> his job will be to protect families like yours from the abuses of the financial
industry. his job will be to make sure that you've got all of the information you need to make important financial decisions. right away he'll start working to make sure millions of americans are treated fairly by mortgage brokers and payday lenders and debt collectors. >> now, this is the bureau that was originally one of the ideas that elizabeth warren suggested and many thought that that type of job that you're getting should go to her. the president and others didn't believe that she could be confirmed and it turns out that no one could be confirmed and here we stand here tonight. how do you expect to go forward with an agency that has this much resistance from republicans? >> well, lawrence, a very bipartisan way in financial issues when i was state treasurer and then as attorney general. i feel i can do that at the
federal level as well. i reach out to congressional leadership, both chambers. i've given them by personal commitment that they will have the information to understand what we're doing, how we're working to save the same constituents that they work to serve and i intend to fulfill that commitment. >> getting this bill passed in the first time that created this was a bill battle for the president, getting the agency set up. obviously getting you into office has been an incredible office. i want to listen to what elizabeth warren said about how the president achieved this. >> i want to be clear, if we didn't have barack obama in that building behind me, we wouldn't have this agency. he fought for it. there were a lot of grand bargains offered. if only you'll rip off one of its arms, make it weak and shackle it, we'll be glad to let you have something.
you know what he said every time? no. >> she is right about the powers that have been preserved as you read the powers that you now have having been sworn in. your position seems very powerful. you're able to create rules of the road for financial institutions. in effect, what is the effective difference between your powers and congress' power to legislate? >> well, i think like every independent agency, congress has delegated us authority to make some rules that fill in the gap in legislation. but frankly when i was attorney general of ohio and i was trying to help people with their consumer problems, seniors who were being scammed and defrauded of their life savings, people losing their homes to foreclosures, people who were drowning in credit card debt, i often was frustrated because we didn't have the tools we needed to be able to try to make problems right for consumers and make the financial right and work in a fair manner. at this bureau we've now been given the authority to work on
those types of problems. mortgages, credit cards, these are not going to dictate rules in the american economy. they are things that are going to make things better work for people, better informed decisions, decisions that they can live with and take responsibility for. i think that is straightforward and i think the american people recognize the importance of having somebody stand next to them in the marketplace. >> i didn't find anything in the establishing statute here that prevents your republican successor, let's say there's five or six years from now there's a republican doing your job, i don't see what would prevent that republican appointee from reversing virtually allf of your rulings. is there something in this law that prevents that? >> no. as with any independent agency, congress itself, there will be an ebb and flow in the policy and outlook of this country over time. but the nature of the job here is protecting individual
consumers. who are we talking about? we're not talking about i am personal people. we're talking about our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, if we can improve the marketplace for them i think we will continue to win the american public over time. >> the first agency in the history of the federal government and consumers are going to be able to go to your website and find out what their rights are in relation to credit card companies and mortgage companies and the like? >> lawrence, they already can. one thing that we've already set up, there's a tell your story function. people can go there and tell us what the struggles, issues that they are facing in their real lives and we've already been hearing thousands of those stories which are going to be very important to us because they will tell us what is important to the people of this country, what we need to do to
make the marketplace work for them and we're also working very cooperatively with financial institutions to help them understand how we can improve this place. we intend to use technology to be very user friendly. we talk about and use your goal as a 21st agency, we want people to feel comfortable coming to us because we work for them and what we are going to do for them will improve their lives and strengthening our economy. >> will you please come back to the show in six months just to talk five minutes only, just to talk about how user friendly this consumer protection bureau is? consumers in the title of it. i just want to see something established in 2010, 2011 with all of our modern computer capabilities. i just want to see how user-friendly the federal government can be in one agency. >> all right. that's a deal. i'm be glad to come back any time. >> you got 53 votes in the
united states senate. but that's no longer a majority and the president had to go the way he went if you were going to get this job. thank you very much for joining us, richard cordray. >> my pleasure. coming up, only eight more people in iowa like mitt romney more than they like rick santorum. frank rich joins me to talk about romney's enthusiasm problem. but, first, the leader of the pack of people trying to take down newt gingrich's new job. that's next. cranberry juice? wake up! ♪ that's good morning, veggie style. hmmm [ male announcer ] for half the calories -- plus veggie nutrition. could've had a v8.
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is the best republicans can hope for. today, newt gingrich who promised to stay positive, ran this ad. >> romney's plan, timid won't create jobs and timid certainly won't defeat barack obama. newt gingrich's bold leadership, balanced the budget, reformed welfare, helped create millions of new jobs. the gingrich's job plan, for growing our economy and creating jobs, rebuilding the america we love with bold, conservative leadership. >> the new hampshire union leader, which has endorsed gingrich, is still pushing hard for gingrich against romney. reagan beat bush but he might have lost had new hampshire conservatives not coalesced instead of splitting their
support. this time they need to get behind newt gingrich. politico reports that the gingrich campaign may be trying to build an anti-romney alliance with the co--winner of the iowa caucus, rick santorum. two sources have discussed that there have been discussions about forging a nonaggression pact with rick santorum though it wasn't clear whether one had been reached or that the teams had discussed it. joining me now from new hampshire, editorial director for aol, huffington post, howard fine man, former mccain senior advisor and charlie black and msnbc contributor and soon to be host of her own msnbc weekend program debuting in february, melissa harris perry. thank you all very much for joining us. >> thanks, lawrence. >> melissa, first to you in honor of your new status here as the new shining star in the building, hosting a new program,
i want to go to this rasmussen poll. it's a robo poll. it's not the most reliable in the world. but santorum has shot up. he shot up in this poll from 4% to 21%. this is a national poll. it's not new hampshire. it's not what's going to happen next week and then you see romney at 29% within striking distance of santorum's 21. gingrich down there at 16 which in this poll it's still in the game. ron paul hanging in there at 12. is the santorum bubble, melissa, is your sense of it that it is going to have an expiration date like the others, some two weeks or three weeks? or is this the one that can go? we've all been asking this question for a while but i ask it every day because every day there's a new sensation about this. >> and, look, this matters. it in fact matters in primary
politics when your bubble hits. the problem is, even in a presidential election if you look over and over again, let's take the mccain-obama race. had that race been decided in late december, it's possible that john mccain and sarah palin would have beaten barack obama. it's only because it's november when that election happened. so timing absolutely matters and in this case, particularly in primaries, because momentum matters, it's so quick these early primaries, the fact is that santorum is benefiting from his timing. i don't think that poll is telling us people agree with the policies. i think what it tells us is people are paying attention to a candidate who they had not been paying attention to previously. >> howard fineman, i just got
off the phone with his nal nal communication guy who claimed, at any rate, that they had raised $2 million in the santorum campaign within the last 2 1/2 days. they do have a tv ad here in new hampshire. i think it's the first. they are about to make a tv buy in south carolina, which shows what they are aiming at beyond new hampshire. they are going to try to slow the momentum here. with all due respect to politico, they do a lot of great stuff. a couple of people inside the newt gingrich campaign talking about an appliance with santorum, i don't think there's going to be one and i don't think gingrich wants one. he's not the alliance-making type guy. romney's not here right now. interestingly, he went down to south carolina. he's confident enough about his standing here in new hampshire that he took a day or two to dip
down to south carolina. now, i went to a santorum event last night. a lot of undecideds. they like what he said but they don't know necessarily enough about his deep conservative catholicism. new hampshire is 60% catholic but. >> it's not mass catholic? >> exactly. these are tolerant people up here. there's not the fight about gay marriage here that there was out in iowa, for example. so the more people learn about santorum's personal side and religious faith, that may give them pause. but what he said about the culture of depend density, they like his anti-government rhetoric, even though the leader is a conservative. i was talking to joe mcquaid.
you don't feel overwhelming surge. you don't feel a surge for anybody right now. point by point you're going out of the romney 41% lead but you don't feel an earthquake happening yet. >> charlie black, i assume you brokers in the romney campaign arer? ing at that trickle that has rolled into the santorum campaign and you're just thinking, okay, kid, you've got $2 million. spend it and we'll say good-bye to you in a couple of weeks. >> santorum got a great boost out of iowa, well-deserved for what he accomplished there. he's going to have to raise a lot more than $2 million to compete with the organization and fundraising infrastructure that governor romney has put together. governor romney is in very strong position in new hampshire. sure that margin will be cut as people focus on the race this weekend and maybe senator
santorum's in a position to finish second there. who knows. but governor romney will win new hampshire and that will give him significant momentum going into south carolina and florida. give rick santorum credit for a great accomplishment in iowa but he doesn't have the organization or financial infrastructure underneath his person nam campaign and to be competitive down the street. >> charlie, that sounds like a corporate presentation as to why he should vest in this stock rather than that stock. is there any enthusiasm in the romney campaign and is there any real governing difference between mitt romney and rick santorum as presidents precedence? >> i respect him, he's been a great senator and obviously a personal campaigner. but the issue before american people is jobs. mitt romney has the right experience and leadership skills to turn the economy around, create jobs, and bring is big
federal government, big regulatory federal government under control. that's what he's done his whole life. rick santorum, with all due respect, does not have that background. jobs is the number one issue in south carolina. the highest unemployment rates in the nation. they care more about jobs and the social issues in south carolina. >> melissa harris perry, i don't see any real difference between rick santorum and mitt romney as presidents. they do have differences in their past but am i missing something in their campaign? >> it's probably because you recognize that the president is not in fact an authoritative dictator who can implement whatever policy is in his head. there's a juvenile element to the presidential campaigns where candidates present themselves as though, these are my beliefs and
because this is my belief, this is what i will do in my office. but if anything, the last three years should be a civics lesson. it's called congress. when i was listening to romney speak in iowa on caucus night, it was striking because it was how a ceo talks about budgeting. you take a look at it you caught what you don't need. that's not how government budging works and it's not how it's going to work under president santorum or gingrich or any of them. there's a fantasy play that goes on here. in that sense, you are think you're right, there are a few differences in policy but as president i think they are both constrained by the realities of the american presidency. >> howard fineman, i can't remember a buildup other than what is coming this weekend. we're going to have one on "meet the press."
here's karl rove from "the wall street journal" saying that the former massachusetts governor should prepare to be the pinata. if he deflects the attacks in a dignified manner and avoids looking rattled. how do we know this promised attack from newt gingrich coming and we were all on the edge of our seats dying to see those explosions, i'm starting to think it just can't work out as wonderfully as we're hoping and that how do you think it's going to go? >> you know, that's true, lawrence. these guys have always talked a bigger game than they are seeing on the stage. i am running for president and there's a reason to be dignified in that situation. it's also way oversold. it's true that proress selling is the most popular thing on cable. we're partly in the role of
wrestling here. i do agree with carl. a lot of the people think that mitt romney behind the scenes is thick skinned and he knows that he can be that way. when things don't go his way, he can get very irritated. people love to mix it up and love the rough and tumble and even if they don't like the union leader newspapers politics because they like the style. they like the combative style. this is a guy that has a house of representatives with 400 people in it or 500. i forget. 5, 600 people. almost everybody is elected to something here. they love the fight, they like the debate. they love to do it with good intensity and humor. if mitt romney comes off as the heat and the stiff in the kitchen that will be a bad night
for him. don't expect newt gingrich to spend all his time going after mitt romney. don't. >> 15 debates, governor romney's been attacked in every one of them. he has never showed irritation, other than calm. don't worry, it's not going to be a big event on saturday or sunday. >> all right. charlie black gets the last word on new hampshire but melissa harris perry, before you go, i have a big question for you. in your weekends stolg role here on msnbc, will you still, i beg you, have the time to host this program occasionally? >> any time you ask, of course. >> because without you i never get a day off. >> of course. >> howard fineman, former mccain presidential campaign senior advisor and charlie black, msnbc contributor melissa harris perry, thank you all very much for being here. coming up, the late-night comedians are back just in time for caucuses and debates and
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teleprompters, even though i am using a teleprompter right now but you can't do because i use it to flawlessly. actually, i was just ad libbing it. the republicans are now afraid of using teleprompt but without prompters, mitt romney doesn't know what to say and his attempt to fall human always lies flat. lately he's been relying on his faulti fau faulty memory of a poem that he doesn't remember. mitt romney and america the bultful are in the rewrite. jenna shared her recipe with sharon,
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there has been much talk of an enthusiasm gap that president obama may suffer in his re-election campaign since he is now an incumbent. the theory is he cannot possibly capture the enthusiasm of first-time voters who energized his presidential campaign the way he did last time. but if you think president obama has an enthusiasm problem, then mitt romney has created an enthusiasm disaster. finding romney voters isn't hard among republicans but finding romney enthusiasts is something else. joining me now is new york magazine's writer at large, franch rich. the tape was great. >> hilarious. >> in fact, we could have found a tape with more enthusiasm in the room but we only had a few minutes. and that was the most
enthusiastic romney moment we could find. >> what does it say about romney that the most enthusiastic brand-name republican for him is dan quail. >> he is the only person who has given a completely about romney. it's not only by the way that they are unenthusiastic about him as one might add or is as true as republican party actively wants something else. they want a bomb through we are, whether it be michele bachmann, newt gingrich, ron paul the next. so he doesn't fill the bill, even if he was a charismatic human as opposed to the android that he is. >> a little bit of republican jealousy about that feeling that the democrats like to have. he says that republicans want to have fun. he used that word, fun. >> fun. >> he indicated in the very same column that fun might be spelled santorum which is, i don't know, a pretty low --
>> sort of an oxymoron. fun for dan savage who put him on the map of google. if that's his idea of fun, it's time to go to disneyland. maybe george willow has had enough of wild spirits for this season. >> but is there -- what happens to all that tea party enthusiasm and they have what you can call enthusiasm and or madness. it's tremendous energy. it's being just completely crushed by the republican presidential campaign. if we're into romney inevitability after new hampshire, then what happens to tea party enthusiasm? >> i think it's very good news for obama. i think a lot of them will be minimally active and if not a substantial number will stay home next november and, of course, should ron paul actually run as a third party candidate
then -- >> he's not going to do us that favor, is he? he's so flaky. >> where do we send him the notes begging him to do that? >> it's interesting to me that "the wall street journal" is as good of a barometer, their editorial page thought as anything, practically begging him to announce that he's not going to run third party. they are obviously worried. >> yep. >> and ron paul, he's so quick-sotic, who the heck knows. >> what happens if they get romney? if after south carolina they have romney, don't you anticipate -- i anticipate a massive buyer's remorse, like a gigantic grief will take over. >> i think you're right. they don't really for all of romney's campaigning for four or five years now, we still haven't seen the guy's tax return. he's presenting himself as sort of tom joe defending the working america when the real record has been in highbrow mainstream
media at bain. but most americans don't really know it. yes, buyer's remorse and it's a really lucky break for the democrats in a bad economy. >> but isn't he of all of the republicans that can cause president obama the worst trouble for searching for votes? >> i guess. but i feel that people just -- because people don't warm to him and because no one believes he has a core, i think that's -- if there's anything that unites this country from the left to the right and everything in between, people find him a phony. it gets back to the original point, no one has enthusiasm for him. it's not even flip-flopping. it's that he seems canned. he can't really relate to people and so it's hard to imagine, yes, if a lot of independents were really disgruntled about obama, he's much more plausible than the clowns that he's been running against. but still you have to wonder whether they wouldn't prefer the devil they know to this android. >> do you think there's any other republican that could do
better against president obama? >> the theory has always been huntsman but he has absolutely no -- >> completely a theory? >> yes. he's like a hologram that mainly people like us talk about and columnists and so on because he has no following in that party and i'm not sure -- you know, people like him and he's like a better version of romney. >> and he does seem human. >> he does seem human. i've interviewed him. is he human. he's a little bit more moderate politically than what romney is purporting to be but not by much. but he doesn't have a chance so what's the point of even talking about it. >> frank rich, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> it's great to be here. thank you. coming up, katherine lee bates wrote "america the beautiful" and mitt romney doesn't know much about america the beautiful or katherine lee bates but we do, thanks to lynn
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i'm convinced that what makes america not just a great land is spacious skies, majesties and amber waves of gray. and green waves of green. with the beans and the corn, too. >> that was mitt romney trying to rewrite corn into a grain back in 2008 in iowa when he first ran for president. romney's handlers just don't trust him with any ad libbed attempts at sounding human anymore, since those usually go
awry. >> i'm running for office, god sakes. i can't have illegals. >> we can raise taxes. everything that corporations earn ultimately goes to people. where do you think it goes? whose pockets? people's pockets. no. no. i was just teasing him. rick, i tell you what, 10,000 bucks? $10,000 bet? >> i'm not in the betting business but -- >> okay. >> and since romney's handlers, like all republicans, want to criticize president obama for using teleprompters, as if every republican president before him didn't use them, romney has been avoiding teleprompters. just like me right now. there's no prompter. it's all up here.
so now that romney's avoiding teleprompters, when romney is trying to sound like he's speaking from the heart, he relies on a semimemorized version of america the beautiful. >> i love this country. i love the hymms of america, america the beautiful, for ambers wave of grain, corn counts, right? and another favorite verse, owe beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strifee. mercy more than life. let me just quote, owe beautiful patriot deem that sees kwlond beyond the years. >> the poem that romney pretents to love so much actually came from the heart and mind from katherine lee bates in 1893. it was first put to music in 1910 at lake avenue baptist
church in boston. as lynn sherr's book, america the beautiful, reminds us, america the beautiful has verses that none of us remember, such as america, america, god mend thine every flaw, confirm thy soul in self-control and liberty and law. america the beautiful is mistaken by people like romney as being a boastful song of praise for america. it is lully a prayer for america's future. katherine lee bates recognized that america had flaws that could lead it in some very, very bad directions. god mend thine every flaw, confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law. katherine lee bates recognized
that our laws fairly written and preserved created our lib bir tea, confirmed our liberty. mitt romney while trying to peal off libertarian votes like all republicans this season, pretends that our laws are robbing us of our liberty. katherine lee bates grew up poor on cape cod in the town of falmouth today her road takes you from the main road into town directly to the public library. i passed katherine lee bates' road more times than i could ever count in the three decades i went to visit my mother. katherine lee bates once described her home town and my mother's last town in a way that accorded with my mother's observations. katherine lee bates said, falmouth was, quote, a friendly little village that practiced a
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of old midwestern people in a high school gym sitting in folding chairs. >> ron paul, could he the pro anti-drug object set strigs lead the flock astray? >> ron paul has disavowed newsletters when his name on them. newsletters from the '80s and '90s. >> okay. probably not. >> when you're out there committed to running for the nomination, everybody has to pitch in and do their part. marcus obachmann getting it done. ♪ it's raining mad, hallelujah >> yesterday when we were out in des moines he was buying sunglasses for our dog boomer. >> in her concession speech, michele bachmann said, this is a
quote, i mean what i say and i say what i mean. yeah. then she thanked her speechwriter popeye. when asked if he was dropping out, perry said quitting is not in my vocabulary and need no be other words. >> santorum scored a victory last night because for the first time in eight years when i googled the word santorum, the first result was for rick santorum. what exactly lifted santorum above the froth? >> it was fashion. >> the sweater vest was like, fear the vest. >> yes, fear the vest. in iowa, that look is fierce. plus, we all know throughout history, electoral power has hinged on clothing. remember ice sen howers